Is Where You Find It

Huge fortunes were won and lost during the Gold Rush. Most of the money was made in land speculation and services provided for the miners. Few of the men who actually toiled for gold made lasting fortunes. Even when they found large quantities of gold, they were swiftly parted from their fortunes. Who became rich? Just about everyone else—storekeepers, riverboat captains, women of ill repute, laundry workers, card dealers and more. The list goes on. Here are a few short tales of some of the men who did succeed.

Lewis Gerstle

Claus Spreckels

Sam Brannan

Phillip Armour

The Big Four

Levi Strauss

The Hearst Family

James Lick

Domingo Ghirardelli

John C. Frémont

John Bidwell

John Studebaker

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